Parent’s Guide to Formally Assessing Hearing of Children
When it comes to the stage where your child shows signs of prolonged hearing loss a formal hearing assessment will become necessary. The sooner the assessment is made, the sooner the best solutions can be implemented for your child to ensure that he or she does not fall behind on school work and social opportunities. The following article serves as a guide for parents for the formal hearing assessment process and also explains the roles of the professionals involved in the process.
Teacher of the Deaf
A Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) is a qualified teacher, who is additionally qualified to teach deaf children. They provide support to deaf children, their parents and family, and to other professionals who are involved with a child’s education. The role of the ToD is to gather information from you regarding your child’s hearing. He/she will work with your child to assist with educational placement, the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants and to evaluate and improve listening, communication and literacy skills.
Speech and Language Therapist
A speech and language therapist is brought in to evaluate your child’s understanding and use of spoken language, vocabulary, and speech skills in detail. The evaluation will take place through a series of formal assessments in combination with observation and informal assessments.
Educational Psychologists use formal and informal assessments to analyse your child’s non-verbal communication abilities. In addition to this, behavioural and emotional development (which may be related to hearing loss) in your child is evaluated.
When all the information is collated, a report with recommendations is given to the parents as to what support is available for their child.
An audiologist physically evaluates the extent of hearing loss in individuals. The examinations performed by an audiologist may determine the causes of the hearing loss as well.
The audiologist’s work starts with a series of questions for you and your child, related to your child’s hearing problems, e.g. if other people in your family suffer from hearing impairment or whether your child has been exposed to loud noise. Your answers may help the hearing health care professional to determine the extent of your problem and uncover specific areas which may require further attention.
After the series of questions the hearing health care professional will examine your child’s ears with an otoscope, which allows them to determine whether the hearing loss is due to damage to the ear canal or to the eardrum.
The next stage of the examination is a range of tests, which is usually conducted in sound shelter. These tests also help to determine the nature of your child’s hearing loss. The tests are neither painful nor uncomfortable and include:
- The pure tone test– can your child hear various sounds?
- The speech test – can your child understand speech?
- The middle ear test test – is your child’s middle ear (the tiny bones in the ear) functioning correctly?
After the tests above, the audiologist is able to decide on the best course of action, e.g. hearing aids, implants or some other treatment for your child. At PC Werth, our education team offers a range of audio and personal hearing systems for SEN students that are easy to use, effective and un-obtrusive in the classroom. For any queries regarding the best solution better communication in your school or classroom, we invite you to contact us.